Harts Barn | Cookery School


We have many regular tutors and several visiting tutors for special classes. Below are just a few of our regulars:


Yvette Farrell

Cookery School Principal and Tutor


Yvette was born on a country estate and grew up gathering blackberries, nuts and wild garlic. Community has been important to Yvette from childhood when in Scotland she exchanged eggs with the trawlers for fresh fish and from these years has developed a passion for the land and its food.

Yvette worked in horticulture for 16 years gaining extensive plant knowledge and associations with food. She opened an award-winning organic farm shop with cafe and deli before launching Harts Barn Cookery School. She has a keen interest in researching heritage recipes.

Yvette also provides care and tuition to those with special needs both within the cookery school and her continued work outside.

1. What is your favourite food? Rice.
2. What do you love about teaching at Harts Barn Cookery School? Watching people gain confidence and leave smiling.
3. What are your ‘outside’ interests? Fund-raising and my dog, Bertie.
4. What is your top cooking tip? Don’t struggle to peel fresh squash – pop in the oven for 15 mins and it becomes easy to peel and chop or just leave the skin on.
5. Please tell us something not many people know about you. I sold plants to No 10 Downing Street.

Follow Yvette on Twitter @Yvettecooks4all


Versha Patel

Indian cookery


Versha’s childhood was immersed in traditional Indian culture and cuisine. From the age of 8 she helped her mother cook a multitude of dishes for family and friends.

30 years on, she now teaches Indian cooking, showing that Indian cuisine doesn’t have to be daunting. Using simple and effective techniques, she breaks down the process into understandable steps, and reveals the secrets to making mouthwatering Indian foods.

After spending several years travelling around the USA, Versha now lives with her family in Cheltenham.

1. What is your favourite food? Ice-cream
2. What I love about teaching my class at Harts Barn Cookery School. The beautiful views and everybody booked on the a course is always eager to learn.
3. What are your ‘outside’ interests? Growing vegetables in my allotment.
4. What is your top cooking tip? Always taste your food. Everyone’s palate is different.
5. Please tell us something not many people know about you. I practice Kung Fu.


Erin Baker

Vegetarian and ‘Free From’ Chef


Erin was born and bred in a small rural town in New Hampshire. She comes from a line of traditional home cooks and after much trial and a little error, Erin started her first culinary job at ‘The Sweet Lilac Deli‘, a take away deli at a small healthfood co-operative in Vermont. This gave her the urge to learn more about the relationship between food and health, so she moved west across the states to California, to attend the not-so-traditional cooking school Bauman College where she focussed on therapeutic healing through using whole foods.

After completing the culinary program, Erin and partners opened the award-winning ‘Sparks’ restaurant, serving electrifying organic vegetarian fare in Sonoma County, California. Now, with over 10 years professional whole foods-based vegetarian cooking under her belt, Erin now teaches cookery and has the Natural Cookery School.

1. What is your favourite food? Mexican
2. What I love about teaching my class at Harts Barn Cookery School. The setting, nestled in the Forest of Dean surrounded by countryside, a bucolic place to teach!
3. What are your ‘outside’ interests? Four season vegetable gardener with a passion for edible flowers, walking the dog, exploring with my husband in our campervan, sneaking away on holiday to a place I can swim in warm water
4. What is your top cooking tip? You can always add, but you can never take away!
5. Please tell us something not many people know about you. I learned how to swim before I learned how to walk.

See Erin on Facebook: Natural Cookery School and Twitter: @naturalcooksch


Deborah Durrant

Raw Food Chef


Deborah first became interested in raw and living foods in 2005 when she went on a life changing course with American life coach, Tony Robbins who challenged her to eat nothing but salad and raw vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds for 10 days.

This was the result “I felt in vibrant health at the end of the 10 days but I knew that it wasn’t very practical or sustainable to eat that way because I’m a self-confessed foodie – so I started to learn how I could make mouth-watering recipes from raw foods that would be more interesting than a handful of nuts and seeds. Now I know how to prepare food that tastes so great you won’t actually believe it’s raw.”

Deborah is now a member of the International Association of Raw Food Coaches and Teachers and hold a Masters Degree in Change Agent Skills from University of Surrey. She is a raw food coach, helping people to make the switch to more raw and living foods in their diet and finding substitutions which really suit their body and their palate.

1. What is your favourite food? Raspberries
2. What I love about teaching my class at Harts Barn Cookery School. I love sharing how amazing and delicious that raw plant based food can be, it always surprises people – plus it’s really good for you too. But classes are a two and three way process – we always learn from each other. I love that too.
3. What are your ‘outside’ interests? I love walking Ziggy and Patch (my English deerhound lurchers) in the Forest of Dean. Plus I always seems to have a few craft projects on the go.
4. What is your top cooking tip? Take it with a pinch of salt. Seriously, sometimes we can over complicate dishes and keep adding ingredients to them hoping to achieve the most phenomenal flavour when most the time, a dish can simply be elevated with a pinch of salt to breathe life into the dish, even sweet dishes. I use Himalayan Pink Salt.
5. Please tell us something not many people know about you. I collect handbags (my own rather than others). Eddie Izzard once coveted my Betty Jackson one … a long story.

Read more about Deborah here http://deliciously-raw.co.uk/ and follow her on Twitter @Deliciously_Raw


  Ian Barnes “Barney”Vegetarian Chef


 Chef / Tutor


Barney is a food obsessed Yorkshire man. He has eaten his way round the world twice,  sampling and learning about food from over 40 countries. Insects in remote China, BBQ  Beef with the gauchos of Argentina, Piranha in the Amazon, Smoked Guillemot in Iceland…
As well as tutoring at Harts Barn Cookery School, Barney puts on regular supper clubs and  home dinner parties as Infamous Catering and works at Cameron’s Game, Fish & Butchery  in the Forest of Dean.

His passion? Creating accessible,exciting fusion food, using the finest British ingredients combined with the flavors of his wanderings.
Encouraging people to think about the welfare, sustainability and amount of meat they eat.

1. What is your favourite food? Currently (and it changes regularly) Home made Burritos with all the trimmings.
2. What I love about teaching my class at Harts Barn Cookery School. Having Fun with people who, like me, care about real food.
3. What are your ‘outside’ interests? Trail Running, Mountain Biking, Foraging…
4. What is your top cooking tip? Experiment. Try- Fail, Try again- Fail Better.
5. Please tell us something not many people know about you. After 42 years I just found out I like Cats.